Harley-Davidson Sportster Iron 1200 (XL1200NS) Maintenance Schedule and Service Intervals

This is the maintenance schedule and service intervals for the Harley-Davidson Sportster Iron 1200 (XL1200NS), also known as just the H-D Iron 1200.

The Harley-Davidson Sportster Iron 1200 (XL1200NS) was made from the 2018 model year. It’s the bigger sibling to the Harley-Davidson Iron 883, which has been in production in this form for longer.

The Harley-Davidson Iron 1200 is based on a 73 cubic inch air-cooled fuel-injected V-twin engine that makes 100 Nm (73 ft-lb) of torque at 3500 rpm, with a lot of torque right off idle to get through traffic or go cruising. It has an old-school pushrod-actuated two-valve motor.

Final drive is via a belt. That, combined with self-adjusting hydraulic lifters for the valves, makes the Sportster Iron 1200 a very low-maintenance motorcycle.

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What you need to service your Harley-Davidson Sportster Iron 1200

Most of the fluids you need to keep your H-D Iron 1200 maintained are best obtained from your local dealer. But here’s what they are.

PartHarley-Davidson Sportster Iron 1200 spec
Engine OilUse Genuine Harley-Davidson H-D 360 Motorcycle Oil 20W50, or another oil certified for a diesel engine with certification CH-4, CI-4, and CJ-4, preferably (in descending order of preference) 20W50, 15W40, and 10W50. Two good options are Mobil 1 20W-50 V-Twin Synthetic and Shell Rotella T6 15W-40.
Oil filterUse a Hiflofiltro HF170RC filter. The oil filter wrench part number is 94686-00.
Transmission lubricantUse Formula+ Transmission and Primary Chaincase Lubricant. Two good alternatives are Red Line Primary Case Oil and Amsoil Primary Chaincase Lubricant.
Brake fluidUse only DOT 4 brake fluid. The H-D part number is HD-48497-A.
Spark plugUse an NGK DCPR7E or DCPR7EIX spark plug.
Brake padsUse EBC brake pads for better bike and less fade. FA640HH on the front, and FA254HH on the rear.
Maintenance parts for the Harley Davidson Sportster Iron 1200

Maintenance schedule for the Harley-Davidson Sportster Iron 1200 (XL1200NS)

Below is the service schedule for the Harley-Davidson Iron 1200. This comes from the manual and maintenance schedule for all XL1200 Sportsters, but has been clarified for legibility.

Generally maintenance for the Harley-Davidson Sportster line can be summarised as

  • 5000 mile / 8000 km maintenance intervals where you have to change the oil and filter, and check everything.
  • Every two services, tighten everything up back to torque spec, and lubricate major bearings.
  • Every 2-4 years replace fluids, or as needed.
  • No valve service needed.

Notes on the maintenance schedule:

  • (*) Items marked with an asterisk (oil, filters, controls etc.) should be maintained more regularly if you ride in severe conditions (including high temps, dust, rough roads, after storage, short runs, heavy stop/go traffic, or poor fuel quality)
  • See torque specs in the service manual for all items to re-torque
  • When there’s a period (e.g. “every year”), observe the earlier of the two maintenance intervals (time or distance)
mi x 100015101520253035404550
km x 10001.68162432404856647280Every
Replace engine oil and filter*XXXXXXXXXXXYear
Inspect drive belt and sprocketsXXXXXXXXXXX
Check drive belt tension, adjust if necessaryXXXXXXXXXXX
Adjust primary chainXXXXXXXXXXX
Adjust clutch*XXXXXXXXXXX
Replace transmission lubricant*XXXXXX
Adjust steering head bearingsXXXXXX
Replace brake fluid (DOT 4)2 years, or sooner if moisture content greater: R
Replace spark plugsX2 years
Rebuild front forks (Disassemble, inspect, rebuild, replace fork oil)X
Check 12 volt battery – terminal torque, connection cleanness, lubricate terminals with contact lubricantYear: Cl/L
Replace fuel filter*100K mi (160K km)
Inspect air filter, clean/replace if required*XXXXXXXXXX
Inspect brake pads and discsXXXXXXXXXXX
Inspect front brake fluid level & reservoir cover tightnessXXXXXXXXXXX
Inspect rear brake fluid level & reservoir cover tightnessXXXXXXXXXXX
Check front brake fluid moisture contentXXXXXXXXXXXYear
Check rear brake fluid moisture contentXXXXXXXXXXXYear
Check front tire pressure and treadXXXXXXXXXXXYear
Check rear tire pressure and treadXXXXXXXXXXXYear
Torque front wheel spoke torque (if equipped)XXXXX
Torque rear wheel spoke torque (if equipped)XXXXX
Grease steering head bearingsX
Torque hand control switch housing screwXXXXXXYear
Inspect oil and brake lines (check for leaks/abrasion)XXXXXXXXXXXYear
Inspect fuel lines and fittings (check for leaks/abrasion)XXXXXXXXXXXYear
Torque upper front stabilizer link to engine bracket mounting screwXXXXXXYear
Torque front isolator mounting bolt and nutXXXXXXYear
Torque front axle nutXXXXXXYear
Torque brake banjo boltXXXXXXYear
Torque rear axle nutXXXXXXYear
Check, Adjust, Lubricate throttle controlsXXXXXXXXXXX
Lubricate jiffy stand*XXXXXXXXXXX
Lubricate brake and clutch controlsXXXXXXXXXXX
Inspect electrical equipment and switchesXXXXXXXXXXX
Inspect exhaust system, fasteners and shields (check for leaks, cracks, loose or missing fasteners/shields)*XXXXXXXXXXXYear
Check component and system functions (Road test)XXXXXXXXXXX
Harley Davidson Sportster/Iron Maintenance Schedule

Tire sizes and pressures for the Harley-Davidson Sportster Iron 1200

The Harley-Davidson Sportster Iron 1200 runs a Michelin Scorcher “31” tyre that’s made specifically for the Iron 1200.

Below is a table of teh recommended tyre sizes and pressures for the Sportster Iron 1200.

WheelTyre sizeTyre pressure (cold)
Front100/90 B19 M/C 57H30 psi / 207 kPa
Rear150/80 B16 M/C 77H40 psi / 276 kPa
Harley-Davidson Sportster Iron 1200 tyre size

About the Harley-Davidson Sportster Iron 1200

In a world of high-speed, high-tech bikes, the Harley-Davidson Sportster line has remained fairly simple and low tech. The Iron 1200 is a rider’s motorcycle — not the fastest, not the best handling, but for certain riders it’s exactly the bike they want.

You can talk for a while about the virtues of Harley-Davidsons etc. but the reality is that if you know you want one, you already are shopping for one, and you know what you’re getting.

In a nutshell, the Iron 1200 is a back-to-basics motorcycle. It has an air-cooled 1202cc Evolution engine with a compression ratio of 10:1. The peak power is unstated, but it makes peak torque of 99 Nm (73 ft-lb) at 3500 rpm, and isn’t designed to rev to the moon. The motor definitely produces a lot of thrust and you never feel short.

The final drive is via belt, which is a lot lower maintenance than a chain. You just have to check the tension periodically and adjust it if necessary.

One of the best features of the Evolution engine from a maintenance perspective is the self-adjusting hydraulic lifters. In a world where valve service is almost mandatory, the Harley-Davidson Sportster Iron 1200 doesn’t ever need its valves serviced. This is a huge win!

The Iron 1200 has fairly simple suspension. At the front there are non-adjustable right-side-up forks. They’re cartridge-style, so the ride is more plush than simpler damping rod setups.

The rear suspension is a variable rate spring with adjustable preload.

Front braking is done by a single disc and dual piston caliper. Again, a very simple setup, that doesn’t provide a ton of stopping power for the heavy-ish bike, but also is very easy to maintain (e.g. disassemble) if things go wrong.

Manual for the Harley-Davidson Sportster Iron 1200

The above maintenance schedule came from the manual for the Harley-Davidson Sportster Iron 1200 (XL1200NS).

You can find it online here.

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